The Compassion Project Gala Brings Out Fashionable Brands and Celebrities
Bringing recognition to animal welfare, fashion designers and celebrities came together to raise money for an important cause during the second-annual Compassion Project Gala. Hosted by the AH&W Foundation with Animal Hope in Legislation, the event included a cruelty-free fashion show and silent auction at Playa Studios in Culver City, Calif., on March 3. A silent auction of goods included a Kimberly Parker Atelier gown and denim jacket by Vegan Club.
Comedian Whitney Cummings hosted the event, which was attended by celebrities such as Nikki Reed, Alicia Silverstone, Tess Holliday, Shannen Doherty, Shannon Elizabeth, Moby, Tony Kanal and Brad Goreski. In addition to Vegan Club, additional designers who participated in the fashion show were Dalia MacPhee, Michael Kors, Versace, Adaem, Mink Shoes, Hiraeth Collective, Pelush, Veronica M., Matt Sarafa and Delikate Rayne.
"The event was very inspirational for everyone in the room," Constantin Le Fou, the founder of the downtown Los Angeles-based Vegan Club, said. "[It was] a very positive response for all the brands who are producing cruelty-free fashion, both every-day wear and high fashion."
By designing his cruelty-free clothing and sharing his creations during fashion-related events such as the Compassion Project Gala, Le Fou hopes to reach a wide audience to strengthen the cruelty-free message across mainstream culture.
"Through our apparel, we hope to spread our message of compassion for animals through the effortless power of fashion," he said. "As of now, our brand attracts mostly vegan women, ages 18-36; however, we also have many non-vegan men who like to wear our apparel. That's the goal— we want to expand and appeal to vegans, non-vegans, children, even pets."
For mainstream designers who have long been designing fashions that were not marketed as "vegan," but fell under the category, the recognition of cruelty-free fashion as chic and wearable was an important benchmark that shows the progress for this garment category.
"Ten years ago, if you were to say 'vegan,' as my collection was, people would assume and say, 'Okay, it must be unfashionable, uncomfortable and expensive, and not the height of fashion. Suddenly, we're evolving," MacPhee said. "We're at a crossroads where there is a responsibility for all of my peers who are doing mainstream fashion to put a little bit of effort—and it's nowhere near the effort they used to have to do—to be cruelty free to animals, the planets and humans."
With the continued focus on new methods of creating fashion, many designers who specialize in cruelty-free designs are optimistic about the evolution taking place in apparel.
"The future of fashion is going to be vegan and eco-friendly," Le Fou said. "Knowledge and awareness are power."